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‘The Author of their Skill’: Human and Equine Understanding in the Duke of Newcastle’s ‘New Method’

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Chapter Summary

William Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle put this belief into practice, devoting time, money and faith to his love of horses and the art of the riding horse, or manège, through which the soldier's battle-field skills took on new refinement. He published two horsemanship manuals, setting down his pleasure in horses and riding. Newcastle's skill with horses helped clarify many of the tensions of his life and the manuals offer insight into a complex man with a strong urge for self-expression. While they are significant in the development of horsemanship literature, they include a biographical subtext found as much in the training method as in the underlying philosophy. To appreciate the value of Newcastle's manuals fully is to be aware that the symbolic importance of horsemanship was rooted in the needs of a practical skill requiring a high level of knowledge.

Keywords:Duke of Newcastle; horsemanship manuals; horses; William Cavendish



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